He says it’s not attractive for me to be jealous

Dear Amy: My husband has some girls from work who message him. Sometimes these are work-related, and sometimes not.

Amy Dickinson

When I insist I don’t like it, he says I shouldn’t worry. He also says that it is unattractive for me to act like this, that they are his friends and I have to get over it.

I know he’s flirting (whether he realizes it or not). Girls flirt with him because he’s such an attractive and nice guy.

If the situation was reversed and I received messages from men, he would hate it. I don’t give my phone number to other men. He is comfortable with this double standard.

I’m at my wit’s end because he just doesn’t understand.

We’ve had infidelity issues in the past (on both sides), and I don’t trust his or anyone else’s intentions.

Am I wrong to feel this?

upset

Dear Upset: You are not “wrong” to feel what you feel. Your feelings are your feelings and you feel them.

However, because you and your husband have a history of infidelity and lack of trust (certainly on your part), you haven’t “normalized” friendships, working relationships, and communication between people.

You don’t give your phone number to men. Why not? Aren’t you allowed to communicate with male colleagues and friends?

I guess it’s because you’re trying to demonstrate behavior that you want your husband to mirror.

Well, he doesn’t accept you.

You could do some work on your own to rebalance your attitude toward your friendships with men, working on understanding what a relaxed, confident, and totally trustworthy friendship with a man would look like to you.

Your husband laughs at your anxiety and your behavior when he surfaces. Yes, your reaction might be “unappealing”, but it’s not nice for him to throw that at you, when he could – and should – reassure you.

Standard practice when rebuilding trust is to share any contact that causes the partner anxiety. So, he would show you his messages, tell you who he is getting calls from (or calling), and you would do the same.

And, while he’s a delightful charmer in the world, he should always put you at the center.

You two continue to play the dynamic remnants of your mutual infidelity.

You could take this to the office of a qualified counselor and come out with a new understanding and a new way of relating to each other.

Dear Amy: I received two university graduation notices and I don’t know what to do.

The first comes from a friend whose daughter graduated from a prestigious college.

When she graduated from high school, we attended her graduation party and brought a personalized, unique and useful gift for years to come.

We never received a thank you. I personally chose him and made sure we got him well before he graduated. When we went to her party, she barely recognized us.

I know it might be different four or five years later, but it’s still an irritant.

The second graduate is the son of a niece we haven’t met since he was a baby, or even that.

Coincidentally, the two graduates went to the same college, despite not knowing each other.

My plan is simply to send congratulations cards to everyone.

Am I small-minded?

What is your suggested course of action? Do I still have to attach a check?

wondering

Dear amazed: Because one of these young people is a foreigner and the other has a little history with you, you should think first of all about what would make you feel the best.

Would it do you any good to ignore the ungrateful graduate? (It could…).

I would probably send a card and a very modest amount to the two, congratulating them and telling them that their first post-grad cappuccino (or martini) is for you.

You will not be thanked.

Dear Amy: You’re so good at what you do, but I wish life was as easy as you make it seem.

Several days my wife and I discuss your advice. I’m going to read a letter out loud, and we both try to guess what you’re going to say.

After we both had our turn, I do the “reveal” and we decide who was closest.

Excited

Dear Randy: Many families report doing this together – and it makes me extremely happy. Thanks!

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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